Philadelphia Phillies: 3 perfect DH options for 2021 season

Yoenis Cespedes #52, formerly of the New York Mets (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images)
Yoenis Cespedes #52, formerly of the New York Mets (Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images) /
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Three free-agents who could make an impact as primary DH on the 2021 Phillies.

Philadelphia Phillies pitchers and catchers are due to report to Clearwater, Florida, in less than a month, as February 17 is scheduled to mark their first workout. Yet, rules for the 2021 Major League Baseball season still are not set in stone. Among those rules is whether the universal designated hitter (DH) will carry over into the second season that is expected to be impacted — at least early on — by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eleven different players assumed the DH position in 2020 — Andrew McCutchen (16 games), Phil Gosselin (10), Bryce Harper (10), Jay Bruce (8), J.T. Realmuto (8), Neil Walker (3), Alec Bohm (1), Rhys Hoskins (1), Jean Segura (1), Kyle Garlick (1), and Andrew Knapp (1). Combined, these players slashed .268/.364/.468 across 253 plate appearances — scoring 31 runs and producing 10 doubles, two triples, 10 home runs, 33 RBI, 31 walks and 59 strikeouts.

The Phillies largely used the DH to spare time off in the field for McCutchen, who was coming off of an ACL injury in 2019, as well as Harper who battled through a back injury. Bruce saw eight games as DH to get his bat in the lineup, while Realmuto’s appearances were sporadic throughout the 60-game season to keep him fresh.

Ideally, the Phillies could use better production out of their DH spot, if it in fact returns in 2021. One way to ensure this happens is to explore free agency. Any of the following proven free-agents could potentially be signed for a relatively cheap deal and put up big numbers for the Joe Girardi-led team next season — with the goal to help them to their first postseason berth in a decade.